Golf: PGA Tour creates US$40 million bonus pool for top stars, reports Golfweek

Tiger Woods could still make the top 10 this year despite being sidelined indefinitely after a car crash.
Tiger Woods could still make the top 10 this year despite being sidelined indefinitely after a car crash.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The United States PGA Tour has created a US$40 million (S$53.1 million) bonus pool for its 10 most popular stars in an effort to stave off the potential for defections to a rival golf league, Golfweek reported on Tuesday (April 20).

Called the Player Impact Program, its design is to "recognise and reward players who positively move the needle" on fan and sponsor engagement, a Tour spokesman told Golfweek. The US$40 million will be distributed among 10 players at the end of the year, with the most valuable getting US$8 million.

The programme began on Jan 1.

There are six criteria the players will be judged on to determine the distributions. According to Golfweek, those criteria are:

1. "Ranking on the season-ending FedEx Cup points list"

2. "Popularity in Google search"

3. "Nielsen Brand Exposure rating, which places a value on the exposure a player delivers to sponsors though the minutes they are featured on broadcasts"

4. "Q Rating, which measures the familiarity and appeal of a player's brand"

5. "MVP Index rating, which calibrates the value of the engagement a player drives across social and digital channels"

6. "Meltwater Mentions, or the frequency with which a player generates coverage across a range of media platforms"

The results of each will be converted into Impact Scores, according to the report, that will create the standings and the dollars distribution.

The PIP is seen as a response to the Premier Golf League, a Saudi Arabia-backed venture that has made attempts to attract the PGA Tour's top players by promising big sums just to show up, Golfweek reported.

In its communication to players, the Tour did a simulation of the 2019 season and rendered a Top 10. Tiger Woods came out on top, followed by Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler.

Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Adam Scott rounded out the top 10, according to Golfweek.

Despite being sidelined indefinitely after a bad car crash in February, Woods could conceivably still make the top 10 - or even finish No. 1 - this year given his massive star power and global appeal.

"Tiger should be No. 1 on that list no matter what," Koepka told Golfweek. "He's the entire reason we're able to play for so much money, the entire reason this sport is as popular as it is, and the reason most of us are playing. Not even close."

The revelation comes just as football reels from the announcement of the creation of a European Super League which was set to feature the sport's most storied club brands.

Six English giants - Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea - had signed up, alongside Spain's Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and Italy's AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.

The competition was intended to replace Uefa's Champions League.

But the plan was lambasted by the sport's governing bodies, other teams and fan organisations as saying it would increase the power and wealth of the elite clubs and the partially closed structure of the league goes against European football's long-standing model.

Following the outcry, the six English clubs withdrew on Tuesday, leaving the fate of the project hanging in the balance.